Category Archives: Flash Fiction

Very short stories.

God Almighty — Flash Fiction #17


The tiger has turned into a great nuisance. Humans are worried to no end. It started with cattle and then human beings too began to fall prey to the tigers. People brought out their sticks, their spears and their guns and killed the tiger. But then yet another tiger arrived. Finally, the humans approached God Almighty with an appeal.

“God Almighty! Do please save us from the tigers.”

God Almighty replied — “Okay.”

Soon after, the tigers showed up in the court of God Almighty with a complaint — “The humans have made our lives unbearable. We are running away from forest to forest. But the hunters are not leaving us in peace. Hey God Almighty, can’t you please find a remedy for this perilous situation?”

God Almighty replied – “Of course.”

Just then young Nerha’s mother appeared before God Almighty and prayed —“Baba, please make sure that my Nerha is blessed with a lovely young bride. Please, please dear God Almighty. I am offering you five paisa in obeisance.”

God Almighty replied – “Okay.”

Harihar Bhattacharyya addressed God Almighty on his way to court where his case was pending. “I have worshipped you all my life. My body has thinned on account of the fasts I kept. I want to give a proper lesson to my rascal of a nephew. Please do be my ally.”

God Almighty replied – “Okay.”

Sushil is preparing for an exam. He tells God Almighty everyday, “Dear God Almighty, do make sure that I pass.” Today he added — “God Almighty, if you can arrange for a scholarship for me, I will spend five rupees to distribute sweets I offer in your glory.”

God Almighty replied – “Okay.”

Haren Purakayastha desires to be the Chairman of the District Board. He approached God Almighty through an intermediary, a priest called Kali. “I need only eleven votes to win.” The priest, in lieu of a fat fee, chanted prayers in incorrect Sanskrit making God Almighty nearly lose his mind – “Votam dehi, votam dehi —”

God Almighty replied desperately – “Oh, okeigh, ohkeigh.”

The farmer raised his hands towards the sky and said — “God Almighty, give me water.”

God Almighty replied –”Okay.”

The mother of a sick child prayed to God Almighty–”Oh Lord, I have but a single child. Please don’t snatch it away.”

God Almighty replied – “Okay.”

Khenti pishi, the next door neighbour of the mother, said –”God Almighty, the slut is far too vain. She shows off new jewelry every other day and looks down on us all. You have shown endless mercy by catching hold of the child by his throat. Give the broad a proper lesson.”

God Almighty moaned – “Okay.”

The grim philosopher said – “God Almighty I wish to understand you.”

God Almighty warily responded – “Okay.”

China came up with a piercing cry – “Please save us from Japan Oh Lord.”

God Almighty replied – “Sure.”

A young man from Bengal caught hold of God Almighty– “No editor is accepting my submissions. I want to publish in ‘Prabasi’. Please tell Ramananda-babu to be kind to me.”

God Almighty replied – “I will.”

During a short break, God Almighty asked Brahma, who was sitting right next to him – “Do you have pure mustard oil at your home?”

Brahma said – “Yes, I do. But what’s the problem?”

God Almighty said – “I am in dire need of it. Can you spare some for me?”

Brahma. (Speaking hastily out of all five mouths) “I definitely can.”

Pure mustard oil arrived from Brahma’s home. Immediately, God Almighty put drops of mustard oil into his nostrils and fell into a deep slumber.

Till this day, we has not woken up from that slumber.

Translation-cum-transcreation of a classic Bengali flash fiction বিধাতা (bidhata) by Banaphool. The original version of The Neem Tree was also his creation.

 
 
 
 
 

[This a transcreation of an original story written by Banaphool. He is the same writer who had penned The Neem Tree. The present story in its original version was published by Gurudas Chattopaddhay and Sons in 1936 in a collection entitled Banaphhol-er Galpo (Banaphool’s Stories).]

Of Crows and Men — Flash Fiction #16

I am either a schizophrenic or a downright hypocrite when it comes to my attitude towards animals. At the same time that I cajole my dog-hating wife to allow me a puppy in the house, I will definitely be sorry to see Kentucky Fried Chicken pack up and leave the country.

I have nothing against birds though. The koel drives me to distraction on many a moonlit night. The kingfisher’s perfect somersault leaves me speechless. I have tarried patiently by peacocks for an opportunity to watch them dance. The magnificent curve of a flamingo’s neck fascinates me and, quite unpardonably, I adore the sight of little chicks scampering about.

Yet there are boundaries I will not cross. I do not enjoy the company of rodents, of spiders, of cockroaches, and, among birds, of crows. I detest crows. I am repulsed by their looks, their raucous caws and their untidy nests. Besides, dirty fish-bones on my balcony, along with other filth, are daily reminders of their slovenly habits.

I was more than a little surprised, therefore, by the agony I felt the other morning, to discover a group of little boys shriek with delight as they pulled at a string fastened firmly to the claws of a baby crow. It had not yet learnt to fly properly and must have crashed on the pavement during one of its training sessions. The miserable thing believed that the way to freedom lay in flapping its wings, which it did with all its might, much to the merriment of its captors. As it was dragged along the rough surface of the pavement, it parted its beak and cawed in a hoarse whisper, revealing the raw redness of a mouth unaccustomed to anything other than the infinite tenderness of a feeding mother.

It took me all the powers of persuasion to put a stop to this horror and make the boys untie the string.

Later on in the afternoon, I searched for the crow on my way out for a stroll. The local presswallah pointed it out to me as it perched precariously on a heap of rubble close to the edge of the pavement. I went near to have a closer look and check if the string was truly detached. The bird recoiled in panic and, losing its foothold, tumbled down the slope right into the middle of the street.

Just then a Maruti van whizzed past, far too close to the spot where the hapless crow had landed. I winced in fear and closed my eyes. When I opened them at last, prepared mentally to absorb a gory spectacle, I could hardly believe what I saw. The creature was wobbling back towards the pavement on a return trip to life!

I gazed at the scene and found myself wondering how soon it might pay a visit to my balcony.

And then I winced again, this time in disgust.

 

Love and Hugs — Flash Fiction #15

Out of sheer disgust that his scientifically retarded old mother did not know how to be loved and hugged over a smart phone, a gentleman employed a human to help his mother find out that she had been hugged and loved over and over again by her invisible son from across a distance of eight thousand miles. The human in charge was invisible too, living forty miles away from the old woman, and had to deliver the love and the hugs over a phone, which, fortunately, the old woman knew how to answer, except when it stopped working. On such difficult occasions, other humans were needed to deal with the phone’s non-cooperation.

The human employed to convey love and hugs pointed out that the service contract was drawn up for love and hugs alone. A more pricey contract was called for to include the extra responsibility of finding humans to fix the old woman’s phone. The son was endlessly irritated by this inhuman demand from a human, but complied for a few months. He saw that the expenses were mounting, yet he was desperate to love and hug the old woman.

He suspected finally that he was being cheated by unscrupulous humans who had found out how frantic he was to love and hug his mother. Fortunately, he was scientifically inclined, unlike his mother. So, he was able to solve the expense problem. He sent his mother a cake on line and to make sure that the old woman knew that her invisible son truly loved and hugged her, he ordered a little girl’s picture as the topping for the cake. This was meant to make his mother feel young and smile as she tore up the picture while cutting the cake.

Unknown to herself, the woman was riding a time machine. The machine, like the phone, suddenly malfunctioned. It accelerated violently till the woman vanished two days before the day the cake with the little girl’s picture arrived. The human in charge of delivering love and hugs alone offered a special discount to inform the son about the incident. The son was annoyed to no end to learn about the mother unknowingly boarding a time machine without engaging a pilot, though he knew at the same time that pilots were expensive and paying their bills would have seriously compromised his love and hugs budget.

This being an emergency of course, he rushed to his computer to search on line for humans who repaired malfunctioning time machines, however highly priced the service might be. But google informed him that all such humans lived in the future.

Of Roots and Rootless — Flash Fiction #14

I have seen the tree since it was a baby sapling planted by the municipal corporation. We have grown old together.

On the tree bloomed beautiful multi-coloured flowers. Red and yellow. The flowers smiled, surrounded by shiny green leaves.

Like a pretty girl I often saw on my way to office. With her mother, she used to sell roasted peanuts in a street corner, wearing threadbare clothes. which indicated a hand to mouth existence.

The tree grew large and its branches threatened to penetrate my first floor window. I informed the municipality and had it cut down to size. But its trunk managed to keep standing where it had been planted. Soon it grew new branches and began to flower again. It had drowned its roots way down deep under the pavement.

The pretty little girl who used to sell roasted peanuts on the streets must have grown up too. Beyond her threadbare clothes.

Most probably, parts of her were chopped off as well. But, being rootless, she stands there no more.

Waiting — Flash Fiction # 13

They had been waiting for weeks when a few of them pointed out that they had waited for months, and soon enough the months changed to years, till, finally, those who were still alive forgot what they were waiting for, even though they felt vaguely that they had been waiting. 






Granny — Flash Fiction # 12

Granny too was excited to hear the patter of feet coming up the staircase on that silent afternoon, but they passed by the closed door of her empty home, climbing further up and finally moving out of her hearing range. As always.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Sequence — Flash Fiction #11

The man knew he was old, and so were all his possessions, dog included, and that, put together, the collectivity was beyond repair, but he didn’t know in what sequence they needed to be disposed of.







 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Girls — Flash Fiction #10

Hanoi. Inside a tourist bus hired by the university. I sat next to a student volunteer. Dressed in a pristine white uniform. Young and radiating health. She told me about her family. Her father was a doctor. Wasn’t he? Not sure. Could have been an engineer or an accountant. But certainly not a pilot or a restaurant owner. She suddenly turned towards me and asked, “Do you have grandchildren?” I must have been pretty old. But I grew even older with time. How old is she today? Forgot to ask her name. That nameless Vietnamese girl may still be in Hanoi. If you see an attractive girl there with a lovely smile, that’s she. 

***

Hong Kong. I was walking down a long, steep stairway leading down the hill from my home to my office in the university. To my left stood the colossal shopping mall, Festival Walk. It began to rain and I prepared to get soaked. When a smallish young Chinese girl emerged out of the huge mall. She briskly approached me and offered shelter under her open umbrella. We chatted as we went towards our common destination. She was a young undergraduate student and spoke about the courses she was taking. Once inside the university building, she took leave and went her way. I never saw her again. I forgot to ask her name. She should not be more than thirty five now. If you come across her do tell her that I can’t get her out of my mind even though I don’t remember her face. I wonder where she lives now. Her kindness has remained stuck to me like the empty smile of eternity. 

***

New York city. Afternoon. Avenue of the Americas. Pavement in front of Radio City Music Hall. I was walking aimlessly, when a young girl in a green dress rushed up and confronted me. She said, “I love you.” Her intonation was strange. I thought I heard her saying, “Love you?” I didn’t know her at all and stared at her dumbfounded for a moment. Then I tried to smile. I said, “You do?” “Yes,” she said and stood blocking my way, as though she was waiting for a response. Her eyes looked sad as she stared at me and her face wore an expression that I couldn’t decipher. The sadness in her eyes was too deep for her age and the manner of her voice was vaguely painful. I managed to skirt around her and briskly walk away. I had probably assumed her to be a drug addict, even though, on hindsight, she didn’t resemble one.

Like the other two, I never saw this girl again, but those sad eyes and the puzzling countenance continue to live and the enigmatic sentence she had uttered keeps ringing in my ears. Was she asserting or interrogating me about herself? I wish I had spent a few minutes with her and asked her name at least. Somewhere, now, she is a very old woman. She will not recognize me. It’s best to leave her alone.

***

Girls vanish.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

House — Flash Fiction # 9

He bought the house in a prime locality of the city, not to live there, but because he wished to sell off the property for a decent profit.

He sold it, as he had planned to. The man who bought it, did not intend to live in it. Instead, like the previous owner, he sold off the property for a decent profit. The next person who purchased the house did not plan to live there either, and sold it off for a profit as the previous buyers did. And so on.

None of the owners ever lived in that house. Liverlessly though, the house went on living where it was built to live. Till it was too old to live any longer.

Soya — Flash Fiction # 8


He stared across the Sea of China sitting inside a sushi bar in Otaru Port thinking absent-mindedly about that slim Chinese girl in Xidi Village when a tiny drop of soya sauce fell on his shirt sleeve and doggedly defied to be washed off for the rest of his life like the pretty, embarrassed face of the Japanese waitress.